Menu

Celebrations

A national celebration

Tents have been growing on the National Mall for a few weeks now. Authors have been visiting local schools and bookstores this week, too. There's excitement building around D.C. — and it has absolutely nothing to do with elections. In fact, this is something that everyone can enjoy!

It's time again for the National Book Festival!

September celebration

As schools get into full swing, teachers should remind students and parents (and maybe other educators) of the importance of libraries. Every classroom activity can be enriched and enlivened by these rich resources. All that is needed is a library card.

To remind everyone, September is National Library Card Sign-up Month. Though it's an American celebration, other countries recognize their importance as well.

Fathers and children and reading together

I was reminded that Father's Day is this weekend by an advertisement suggesting baseball tickets instead of a tie or socks for old dad. A very good idea, I thought.

It's all about spending time together, isn't it? And there's nothing quite like spending time with children over a book. Here are a few that I like.

Children's Book Week: a real celebration

Children's Book Week (CBW) 2012 ended on May 13 but the work of celebrated children's authors and illustrators is sure to continue throughout the year.

I have this year's CBW poster hanging in my office. Created by three-time Caldecott Medalist Davis Wiesner, the poster has recognizable characters from renowned children's book creators coming together on a busy street.

Beyond Earth Day

A friend of my son and I were talking about a high school course he's taking on environmental science. He said that it wasn't as much about saving the planet as it was saving people.

I thought about what he'd said and I agree — at least in general.

Where does respect for the environment and people begin? When children are very young. My son's interest in observing backyard birds started when he built a small birdhouse as a 6-year old Cub Scout and continues to this day.

April celebrations

April is a month full of promise. The sun feels warmer, the days are longer, and there are celebrations galore.

100 years ago, the people of Japan gave cherry trees to the people of the United States. The centennial year of this gift is celebrated with events in Washington, DC all month long during the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

April is National Poetry Month and Keep America Beautiful Month.

Beyond cookies

I was one. So was my sister. We did lots of things in Girl Scouts, but what I remember most is summer day camp and selling cookies — door to door — and having a good time with other kids. I don't remember being taught anything specifically, though I learned a lot. We were part of a Girl Scout troop where learning was engaging and part of all activities.

Reading across America

Today is Read Across America Day! It celebrates the Doctor's birthday (Dr. Seuss, that is) and the joy he created with his wonderful imagination.

Because of Theodor Geisel, we have unforgettable characters like the mischief-making Cat in the Hat, an environmentally concerned guy named the Lorax, the 20th century Scrooge named the Grinch, and an exceedingly kind elephant named Horton who saved the Whos from utter obliteration. (These and other Seuss creations as well as the doctor himself can be explored on a highly interactive website.)

Libraries and the achievement gap

Is the growing gap in children's achievement primarily fueled by economics? What other factors may have a role in it — and how can the apparent trend be reversed?

A recent piece in The New York Times reports studies that indicate a widening fissure in educational achievement between rich and poor. But it also suggests other factors may be at play.

We're all hyphenated Americans

We're all hyphenated Americans really. It's the way we identify our backgrounds and that's fine. If, however, identification by self or others becomes a way to maintain separation, well, that's not fine.

I was reminded recently that books are important as both "mirrors" and "windows" as I introduced books to a group of teenaged parents. They were learning about their children's development and the role of literature and language in it.

Pages

"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." — Walt Disney